TRANSPORT, Works, Supply and Communications Minister,Christopher Yaluma has accused the Zambia Information and Telecommunication Authority (ZICTA) of conniving with mobile operators in maintaining high mobile tariffs.
Speaking when he toured the new ZICTA offices in Lusaka on Tuesday, Mr Yaluma said the authority seemed to be conniving with the mobile service providers in exploiting the public.
He said ZICTA should not stand by and watch mobile service providers exploit Zambians through high tariffs.
He said ZICTA was not performing its regulatory role even when it was aware of its responsibility of ensuring that quality services were delivered to consumers.
He said as a communication regulatory authority, ZICTA should be aggressive in regulating mobile phone service providers in the country.
Mr Yaluma directed the authority to come up with a clear strategy of how it plans to improve access to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) especially in rural areas.
ZICTA board chairperson Gertrude Akapelwa -Euheni said that since the enactment of the new ICT Act the authority had managed to enforce the law which has resulted in a lot of successes.
Ms Akapelwa -Euheni said internet tariffs had seen a reduction of over 700 per cent which had made Zambia to have lower tarrifs than countries like Lesotho, South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Congo DR, Angola, Mozambique and Uganda.
“ZICTA has managed to achieve a healthy competition in the ICT sector. Previously the market used to be characterised by interconnection disputes, excessive rates which were denominated in the US dollars but interconnection rates had been reduced by 50 per cent and denominated in the local currency,” Ms Akapelwa -Euheni said.
She added that ZICTA had reviewed the strategic plan which would ensure that management was accountable and met the objectives of the authority.
Ms Akapelwa -Euheni said the overall goal was to achieve a tele-density mobile penetration rate of 50 per cent, mobile coverage up to 50 per cent, one per cent internet penetration and 80 per cent global delivery standards.